I think maybe at number 16 this is my last weekly email. As we heard last week, we are through the crisis phase and into the somewhat nebulous ‘recovery’ phase. It does feel as if everything is teetering on the edge doesn’t it! The R number continues to look worryingly high and many seem incapable of social distancing while shopping and drinking. But the Economy is in dire straits etc etc.
A couple of joyous things to start with. Firstly, we watched a rather wonderful film on NETFLIX (apologies if you don’t have) called Eurovision. A feel good film to make you smile about a couple of middle aged folk whose dream is to win Eurovision.
And the second joyous thing? My wife and I have just been sitting in our conservatory watching the playful dance of the birds and the wind in our garden. We can name very few bird types other than the obvious, but we do know when joy is in the air. We have a little bird bath (an old upturned metal dustbin lid that we fill with water for them) and oh they have had such fun. Actually, I was sitting tapping away at my computer, thinking about what to write in this email, and I gradually picked up that Annette was becoming quite excited about all that was going on in the garden. It was then that I stopped, put the computer down, and became attentive to the garden, and was able to appreciate all that was going on just a few feet away. I could well have missed it (and often do), but it was only when I became intentionally attentive that I was ….. touched by the natural rhythms of grace. 😊 Many of us are sleepwalking through life and missing the dance of the birds.
And so onto more serious matters. To open or not to open – that is the question. Can I say at this point that everything in me wants to wind down the pressure and anxiety at this point. It seems to me that here is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to go full steam ahead in an attempt to return to ‘normal’ asap because whatever comes next will NOT be normal, and we probably need to accept that. I know some churches have decided to open, and I trust do so having taken full cognisance of the advice, but I do hope that no minister or leadership team is feeling pressure to open.
Please do nothing before you have read & inwardly digested the relevant Governmental and BU advice. PLEASE do not short cut this. You will find the BU ESSENTIAL GUIDANCE material here https://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/338267/Essential_Guidance.aspx
Each church community needs to understand that the legal buck stops with the trustees (which are normally the deacons), and the decision to open and put on worship services need to be done in the light of that. Each leadership team needs to be sure that they are following rigorously the best practice advice that has been given. This is no time for the wider congregation to badger deacons into acting before they are ready, nor to feel pressure because x-church down the road has opened. Working through the RISK ASSESSMENT is not only a requirement but will also prove very useful in determining what is feasable, and even if it is possible to open, to answer the question ‘is this in the best interest of our community?’ is an important one. Each church needs to answer that wisely.
Enough said I hope.
https://www.stpeterscollege.org.uk/church-at-home-resources .... This time I saw a little video about Teleprompters.
The Lord’s Prayer (Alternate Version from the New Zealand Anglican Prayer Book)
Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and for ever.